Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mentacide: Making Slave Mentalities And Its Enduring Impact

by Kenray Sunyaru

As a conscious Black man it is tragic when I look around at the behavior of Black people at home, in the neighborhood, in the communities, at work, etc. It is tragic when I hear daily young Blacks calling each other niggas. It is tragic when ninety percent of Black women I see have wigs on to have hair like white women, or to have ‘so-called good hair’ on top of their heads.

It is tragic when I see Blacks in majority Black cities in Michigan accept living under State controlled colonial emergency management stripped of basic democratic rights; living in ‘urban plantations’ under the ‘whip of state manager overseers’. This 2012 reality of ‘niggas, wigs, and accepting urban plantations’ reflect the enduring legacy of the slave mentality.

According to historian Kenneth Stampp the slave master’s methods for ‘seasoning’ - making slaves out of captured Africans was to strip them of their historical memory, identity, and culture; to develop slave mentalities from birth to the grave that included six interdependent elements: (1) The establishment of strict discipline over the captive African population in the United States; (2) The development within African people personal inferiority in relation to skin color, facial and bodily features; (3) The development of raw fear and awe in the power of the master; (4) The establishment within the enslaved African’s psyche a sense of affiliation with the master’s welfare; (5) The creation of a willingness among African captives and their descendants to accept the slaveholder’s standards of conduct as their own; and (6) The development within the captive people total dependence upon those persons who claimed to be their masters.

It is tragic when I look around in Black communities and we own almost no businesses; non-Blacks economically dominate us; they view us as urban plantation consumer slaves and sell us wigs and everything else! Unfortunately, after the first and second generations of African captives were denied practice of their traditional culture – lack of cultural continuity their descendants today became more vulnerable to institutionalize white supremacy methods of cultural domination.

Thus, lacking knowledge of their African past and our historical struggle for self-determination, Blacks in the post-civil rights era have en masse been ‘De-Africanized’, reduced in America today to a maligned, confused, dependent, and exploited people. Unless we counter and overcome this deep seated slave mentality through a struggle as Martin Luther King said for ‘psychological freedom’ we will continue to become a more tragic people.

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